By Samuel OYADONGHA, Yenagoa
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) has commenced investigation into the sharp practices allegedly uncovered in the aftermath of the biometric data capturing exercise to ascertain the actual workforce of Bayelsa State government with a view to prosecuting all those found wanting.
No fewer than 11,696 ghost workers were discovered during the data capturing exercise conducted by the Due Process and E-Governance Bureau with the state government said to be losing about N293.7 million naira monthly and about N3.524 billion naira yearly as salaries to ghost workers.
The Director, e-Governance, Mr. Patterson Ogon who confirmed that the anti-graft commission had commenced full investigation into the racketeering in the state civil service told Saturday Vanguard that â€œan anonymous text message without a registered name had offered to pay the Bureau N21m if part of the verification report calling for the full refunds of monies earned from non existing staff in the state pay is yanked off.â€
Reacting to what he described as sponsored media publications by a group whose identity remains unknown and multiplied in the last few months entitled â€œBayelsa State: These Four Commissioners should be Jailed for Corrupt Enrichmentâ€ in which the name Dimieari Von Kemedi, Director General of the Due Process & e-Governance Bureau was mentioned, Ogon said, â€œthese barrage of violent and malicious attacks which started as a low intensity campaign of calumny appears to be assuming an air of credibility in the mainstream media, including on-line publications, national dailies and the electronic media.â€
The bureau through its Director, e-Governance, Mr. Ogon, said, â€œour silence in the past months and desire not to reply to these ghostly writings by hired hands have been informed by the wisdom not to dignify the spurious allegations against the Director-General on grounds of â€œgreed and inexperience.
â€œHowever, we wish to clarify the issues and place on record the following: That the Due Process and e-Governance Bureau have consistently focused its attention on building and promoting transparency and accountability in Bayelsa State and have lived by it.
We shall therefore not be drawn into any debate with people, whose moral compass and integrity, way beyond acceptable limits, have chosen to come to â€˜equity with dirty handsâ€™.
That the attempt to use both fair and foul means to blackmail, harass and cast aspersion on the integrity of the Due Process and e-Governance Bureau is the handiwork of a cabal whose financial dealings and continuous scooping from the Stateâ€™s resources over the years have been exposed by the introduction of Due Process in procurement and the recent staff biometric verification exercise.
In December 2009, a text message without a registered name had offered to pay the Bureau Twenty-one million naira (N21m) if part of the verification report calling for full refunds of monies earned from non-existing staff in the Bayelsa payroll is yanked off.Â The Directorate of Price Intelligence as well as Ethics and Compliance of the Bureau have regulated abuse in the procurement of goods and services in the State.
There are several key functionaries of government who have benefitted from the unwieldy financial transactions in the state and have come to the reality that the various innovations introduced by the Due Process & e_Governance Bureau is blocking those loopholes. We are therefore not surprised that these attacks are coming at a time like this.
â€œThese distractions are not surprising as people who â€˜live in glass housesâ€™ are desperately searching for any straw to save their face. For the avoidance of doubt, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have begun investigation into sharp financial practices in the state and will soon arrest and prosecute those involved.
â€œ We sincerely appreciate the goodwill of Bayelsans and especially all those who have stood by us to deliver on this very courageous assignment. We are aware that every change process comes with its own challenges and ours cannot be an exception.
We shall always remain grateful for your support and encouragement and hope we are able to collectively address the common concerns in the course of our work to move Bayelsa State forward.â€